Monday, May 8, 1944

The Charlotte News

Monday, May 8, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that about 6,000 Allied planes had dropped some 10,000 tons of bombs on Germany and occupied territories during the previous 24 hours, capped by a daylight raid of the Eighth Air Force on Berlin and Brunswick, consisting of about a thousand bombers and an equal number of fighter escorts. A daylight raid of about the same size or larger had been flown by the Americans the day before, also striking Berlin. The raids encountered more Luftwaffe opposition than during any mission since April 27. Crews reported witnessing mid-air collisions between German planes in distress and American bombers. Overcast skies prohibited, however, any anti-aircraft fire.

Meanwhile, medium bombers of the Ninth Air Force struck in Northern France and at the rail yards of Rouen.

The RAF, the night before, had hit targets in Germany, France, and at Bucharest in Rumania, the latter city having also been hit during the day on Sunday by 250 to 500 bombers of the Fifteenth Air Force flying out of Italy. Planes of both forces also hit targets in Northern Italy and in Yugoslavia. Pilots noted that of late, the Germans were flying inferior types of fighter planes over Italy, Fiat G-50's, JU-87's, and RE-201's, rather than the more superior ME-109's and FW-190's being encountered earlier. Still, the opposition by the Luftwaffe in the region was formidable.

Captain Robert Johnson, piloting a Thunderbolt fighter, became the first pilot in the European theater to break Captain Eddie Rickenbacker's World War I aerial combat record of 26 kills. Captain Johnson encountered the crossroads by shooting down two German planes this date, to bring his total to 27 kills, matching the mark already reached by Captain Richard I. Bong in the Pacific theater.

Captain Don Gentile, also operating in Europe, had a total of 30 kills, but seven had involved aircraft on the ground.

Captain Joe Foss and Captain Gregory Boyington, operating in the Pacific, had first tied Captain Rickenbacker's record before it had been broken by Captain Bong.

On the Crimea, a new Soviet offensive had begun, with the Russian Air Force striking Sevastopol in strength during the weekend, and, according to German reports not confirmed by the Russians, the Red Army also had renewed its offensive on the only remaining German position on the peninsula or in southern Russia, the city having been in a state of siege since April 20 after it had been surrounded by the Red Army forces from the north, east, and south.

In Northern India, Allied troops had cleared 28 miles of the 60-mile Kohima to Imphal road, 15 miles of which had been secured at last report the previous week. The Japanese were reported on the offensive in the vicinity of Kohima, with only a few days left before the scheduled start of the monsoon season in mid-May.

Allied information placed the strength of German defenses on the Western Coast of France at between 54 and 67 divisions, that is, about 800,000 to a million men. The assumption was that Hitler would concert these forces against the Allies were he to see an opportunity to smash the Allied beachheads soon after the landings. The Luftwaffe, while ailing, still was calculated to have sufficient strength in planes held in reserve, in hiding in Germany and France, to do significant damage to the Allies. No one in the Allied camp held any illusions against the toughness of the fight ahead.

Returning from a month-long rest at Bernard Baruch's plantation, Hobcaw Barony, near Georgetown, on the South Carolina coast, President Roosevelt was reported looking and feeling well, as he greeted members of Congress and the Cabinet. The President's health had not been optimal since his return from the November-December conferences in Tehran and Cairo.

No one brought up yet the controversy surrounding Montgomery Ward. It would be left to the press, to the President's irritation, to do so shortly, with, among others, Mrs. Craig posing her questions.

Presumably, incidentally, this time, the President likely traveled along the Tamiami tracks back to Washington, (whereon the tragedy at Rennert, near Lumberton, N.C., had occurred in mid-December), rather than along the Southern route he normally took, carrying him through Charlotte, whenever he traveled to and from the Little White House at Warm Springs in Georgia.

General Ira Eaker, commander of the Allied Air Forces in the Mediterranean, gave praise to General Nathan Twining for his command of the Fifteenth Air Force and its successful bombing raids on the Rumanian oilfields, having, along with the RAF, cut them to one-fourth of their previous output, which had supplied 30% of Germany's oil at its peak capacity. As well, the raids had severed rail arteries and blocked river courses between the Reich and Eastern front.

Since the beginning of the North African campaign on November 8, 1942, the total tonnage dropped by Allied bombers in the Mediterranean had now surpassed 200,000 tons.

Of course, that total had been surpassed by the Eighth Air Force and the RAF over Germany and France during just the previous 90 days.

In Italy, Anzio was reported unusually quiet, while some German patrol thrusts had been repulsed in the Garigliano region west of Cassino, as German shelling in the vicinity of Cassino increased.

Daniel De Luce, in the "Reporter's Notebook" column, writes from Anzio of the distaste the Swazi warriors among the Allies had for "Anzio Annie", the big gun of the German hosts which regularly showered its 280-mm. artillery shells on the beachhead. In the Swazi language, the monstrous weapon was called "mfongane". Most annoying was the fact that its repetitive fire prevented the Swazi troops from participating in their beloved tribal dances.

They were the only troops from the British colonies on the Anzio beachhead. Some of them had as many as three or four wives at home in Swaziland, (yet still not so many as Senator Robert Rice Reynolds, who had five). The Swazis bought their wives with cattle; (Senator Reynolds utilized other means of barter).

They had fought bravely with the Eighth Army during its North African campaign in late 1942 and through the first five months of 1943, pursuing Rommel and his Afrikakorps halfway back across Africa from El Alamein through Tobruk and Tripoli into Tunisia and eventual defeat there in May.

The Swazis spoke some English, always sang when they walked, enjoyed American movies, but were unfamiliar with the substance called "ice", as became evident when they saw a feature showing the skating of Sonia Henie across the strangely slick turf.

The British major who commanded them indicated that he foresaw vast changes in their social system when they returned home after their exposure to Western ways and modern warfare. "They may not reform the system of polygamy," said he, "but they're bound to improve the plumbing."

One might have said the same, by 1974, with regard to the Hope Diamond and Evalyn McLean.

Roll 'em down, you Tar Heel warriors...

On the editorial page, "Last Words" reviews the propaganda efforts on both the German side and the Allied side of the Atlantic Wall in the waning days before D-Day. It remarks on the desperation displayed in the remarks of Erwin Rommel to the Germans in a broadcast the previous week, as reported Saturday, stooping even to proclaiming that the British Eighth Army had, under General Bernard Montgomery's command, "murdered" German officers at El Alamein, adding that the good Germans would not lower themselves to such tactics.

On the Allied side, it finds the report, as printed on Friday, of a journalist released recently from internment in Germany, regarding the weaknesses in the vaunted Festung Europa which he had found from personal observation, to be of equivalent posturing.

It concludes that, regardless of propaganda on either side, nothing would dispel the fact that a tremendous blood sacrifice was shortly in the offing, one surely to beset both sides.

"A Split" reports that half of the voting North Carolina Congressional delegation in the House had cast their lot in favor of the Government's takeover of Montgomery Ward and against the proposed House investigation of same, while the other half, consisting of four members, voted in support of the investigation. Four of the delegation abstained.

The piece finds the vote to have been emblematic of the country as a whole and the apparently divided opinion on the issue. It did not, however, bespeak disunity, opines the editorial, but rather suggested a healthy path for the country along the dialectic way toward progressive government.

"Recruit" comments on the promotion to Commander of the Combined Japanese Fleet of Admiral Soemi Toyoda, replacing Admiral Mineichi Koga, killed in an airplane crash while inspecting Pacific combat operations, asserting that Admiral Toyoda came to the post at an unenviable time, with the Japanese on the ropes. He likely stood not a ghost of a chance of surviving long. If he lasted in command for even so long as each of his two predecessors, he would be the champion, at least in terms of survival. Admiral Yamamoto had survived a bit over 16 months following the attack which he had planned on Pearl Harbor, while Admiral Koga had lasted a year after the death of Admiral Yamamoto.

"Dispensables" expresses its contempt for a group of 38 white bigots, "The Fact Finders", who had met, according to an article in The Atlanta Constitution, in the Masonic Hall in the Buckhead section of Atlanta to hear a bus driver give a talk advocating violence against blacks and denunciation of the efforts by three Atlanta clergymen, Dr. Louie Newton, Dr. Ryland Knight, and Dr. Ashby Jones, to provide social justice to blacks and Jews. The speaker also denounced the Klan for having disbanded at a time when they were most needed in the fight. While this meeting was unmasked, subsequent meetings would be held in secret.

The editorial expresses the hope that this dangerous, evil enemy within the gates would meet a quick and timely end.

Unfortunately, during the ensuing three decades, it would only spread its bilious, Hydra-headed dumb-show, uttering, with increasing temerity and even political appeal, met with acceptance by a substantial portion of the Southern electorate, its xenophobic cock-brained kockalorum, revivifying that of their grandfathers during Reconstruction, that in turn having invigorated an idea of a gloriously gasconading antebellum South populated primarily of cavaliers and aristocratic dandies, their belles of the plantation, all of which never existed in the first place save but for a select few, the rest being but peasant vassals to their lords and ladies, as surely slaves as the indentured bondsman, he whom the latter-day adherents to the creed sought continually to maintain in subservient status, succeeding for decades in doing so, not only with respect to the former slave, but as well to themselves.

Those outside the South seem often to have the very mistaken impression that some form of open vituperation, some loudly purveyed Billingsgate, went along with this masquerade. It did not. That was in fact why it was able to persist, and in some parts, still does, for so long, its quaint genteel appeal to the naive of other areas of the country supplying it with sustenance politically, the naivete being usually in direct proportion to the distance from the locus of the social milieu in which the system thrived. For these kukus prided themselves always on being, first, foremost, and last, gentlemen and ladies, not necessarily scholars, but always gentlemen and ladies. Quite to the contrary, the vituperation usually came in response, out of frustration to the racist and his wily ways. If you have never dealt with this creature, do not presuppose judgment of the tactics of those who have had some experience with them, sufficient at least to afford a modicum of understanding as to how to handle a rattlesnake. Otherwise, that rattlesnake, sooner or later, will, without doubt, should you eliminate the skilled handlers, inject its venom into you, you of the naive.

Samuel Grafton expresses dissent on the recent deal made with Generalissimo Francisco Franco of Spain to obtain his promise to cut by 90% the shipments to Germany of wolfram, from which comes tungsten for steel, and to expel all Axis agents, in exchange for resumption of Allied trade in oil. But, says Mr. Grafton, though something of genuine value was thus gained in the quid pro quo exchange, the winner in the agreement was ultimately Sr. Franco, as he received a pass on any blame postwar for his indulgent flings with Fascism and Nazism.

Marquis Childs discusses the victories in the Democratic primaries by Senators Lister Hill of Alabama and Claude Pepper of Florida as signal of the likelihood that FDR would seek a fourth term, still not a foregone conclusion. The election results had demonstrated continued vitality of the New Deal in the cities of the South, but in the rural areas in Florida, Senator Pepper, a lightning rod for the Administration and thus a good bellwether to determine the probable outcome in November for FDR, had polled poorly.

Says Mr. Childs: "On the other hand Pepper, and to a lesser degree Hill, had to go a long way in demagoguery to win. The New Dealer from the Florida cane breaks rang the changes on 'White Supremacy.'"

Indeed, consistent with Saturday's News editorial column, indicating that both Senator Hill and Senator Pepper had stood in support of the white supremacy banner in their bids for re-election against white supremacy advocates among their opponents, Time had reported in April, in the wake of the Allwright Supreme Court decision, stirring anew racial animosity by providing to blacks in Texas access to state-sponsored primary elections, that Senator Pepper, on the campaign trail, had invoked the time-honored stance, "The South will allow nothing to impair white supremacy."

But, despite the propitious harbinger offered FDR by these two wins in the South, the real challenge for the President, continues Mr. Childs, would be, not in the South, which would ordinarily vote Democratic anyway, despite detestation in parts of the region for the New Deal, but rather in the West, where the President's popularity was said, even as indicated by the President's son James, to be on the wane. California, Oregon, and Washington were all doubtful entrants to the FDR column come November.

The West Coast would not in fact prove problematic, however, as California eventually gave 56.5% of its vote in the fall to the President, Washington, 56.8%, and Oregon, 51.8%.

Indeed, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan would be the only electoral-rich states carried by Governor Dewey. Even his home state of New York voted 52.3% for its former Governor over its then current one.

Drew Pearson relates of a surprise invitation to a personal tour of the White House issued by Eleanor Roosevelt to Mrs. Hayden Cady who happened to be standing in the U.S. Information Center a block from the White House when Mrs. Roosevelt strode into the building and issued the pass to the lady standing alone. She took Mrs. Cady all through the Executive Mansion, even into the family bedroom, reports Mr. Pearson, wherein rested a copy of For Whom the Bell Tolls, Mrs. Roosevelt's latest reading matter.

Candidly, the story sounds as hokum, intended to stir the rumor mill on the First Lady. Why would she invite a perfect stranger into the family living quarters? The source appears to have been direct, from Mrs. Cady to Mr. Pearson. There was no mention of it in Mrs. Roosevelt's daily column, nor in Time. We don't mean thereby to insinuate that Mrs. Cady necessarily was a teller of tall tales, but tall the twice-told tale seems to have been.

He next tells of the possibility that he, himself, would soon be called as a witness before a Senate committee, headed by Senator Kenneth McKellar of Tennessee, investigating the love letters sent by Vivien Kellems to a Nazi agent, of which Mr. Pearson had previously informed, apparently on his weekly radio show; the only prior mention in his column of Ms. Kellems had occurred April 7, in connection with her brother's run for the House seat in California vacated by Will Rogers, Jr. Ms. Kellems, herself, had run unsuccessfully in 1942 for the Republican nomination for the House seat which Clare Boothe Luce eventually won. The committee was anxious to know how Mr. Pearson had come into possession of the love letters.

Perhaps, via a White House tour?

Finally, he relates of the close friendship which deceased Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox had with Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes. Both had hailed from Chicago, had fought the conservative, isolationist policies promoted by the Chicago Tribune, and had been Bull Moose Party supporters of Teddy Roosevelt in 1912.

Not long before Secretary Knox had died, a move had been initiated by Undersecretary of the Navy James Forrestal to replace Secretary Ickes as petroleum czar and substitute a Navy officer in the post. The move failed, however, when Secretary Knox, who was on the petroleum board along with Secretary of War Henry Stimson, refused to go along with the plan against his old friend.

The Reverend Herbert Spaugh continues the spirit of Easter, remarking on the immediately past Easter Sunrise Service in Old Salem, which, he informs, had been broadcast all over the world in 1944, the sunrise representing to the early settlers of Salem the resurrection of Christ and the life everlasting gained through faith in Jesus. He tells of the simple gift of faith possessed by these early Moravian colonists.

We have to remark that it is too bad that just a short distance away, over Interstate 40, which, since 1958, has stood as the divide between Old Salem and Winston, some of the inhabitants of the latter part of the city, we have come to understand over the years, have never quite caught on to the quietude and solemnity embraced by the Old Salem premise and still make their filthy lucre, primarily through the sale of poison, most often hooking their prey in time of callow youth. And, anyone who dares to them say such an unvarnished truth is condemned as a traitor and cast out a Demon worthy only of their ruth.

Perhaps, Mr. and Mrs. Tasty Mild, Mrs. Roosevelt would be so kind as to give you a tour of the White House, personally. Why don't you call her up next week and see?


If you shall chance (Camillo) to visit Bohemia, on
the like occasion whereon my seruices are now
on-foot, you shall see (as I haue said) great difference
betwixt our Bohemia, and your Sicilia.


I thinke, this comming Summer, the King of
Sicilia meanes to pay Bohemia the Visitation, which hee
iustly owes him.


Wherein our Entertainment shall shame vs: we
will be iustified in our Loues: for indeed---


'Beseech you---


Verely I speake it in the freedome of my know-ledge:
we cannot with such magnificence--- in so rare---
I know not what to say--- Wee will giue you sleepie
Drinkes, that your Sences (vn-intelligent of our insufficience)
may, though they cannot prayse vs, as little accuse


You pay a great deale to deare, for what's giuen


'Beleeue me, I speake as my vnderstanding instructs
me, and as mine honestie puts it to vtterance.


Sicilia cannot shew himselfe ouer-kind to Bohemia:
They were trayn'd together in their Child-hoods;
and there rooted betwixt them then such an affection,
which cannot chuse but braunch now. Since their more
mature Dignities, and Royall Necessities, made seperation
of their Societie, their Encounters (though not Personall)
hath been Royally attornyed with enter-change of
Gifts, Letters, louing Embassies, that they haue seem'd to
be together, though absent: shooke hands, as ouer a Vast;
and embrac'd as it were from the ends of opposed Winds.
The Heauens continue their Loues.


I thinke there is not in the World, either Malice
or Matter, to alter it. You haue an vnspeakable comfort
of your young Prince Mamillius: it is a Gentleman of the
greatest Promise, that euer came into my Note.


I very well agree with you, in the hopes of him:
it is a gallant Child; one, that (indeed) Physicks the Subiect,
makes old hearts fresh: they that went on Crutches
ere he was borne, desire yet their life, to see him a Man.


Would they else be content to die?


Yes; if there were no other excuse, why they should
desire to liue.


If the King had no Sonne, they would desire to
liue on Crutches till he had one.

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